Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – McFly

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: McFly

Which veteran rock star once defaced your passports?

Danny Jones:Rod Stewart!”


Danny: “We played the same TV show in Ireland. He was flying back and offered us a lift home on his jet.”

Dougie Poynter: “On the way to the private airport, he said: ‘Lads, I need your passports!’. It wasn’t until a few days later we noticed he’d drawn dicks in the back of them.”

Tom Fletcher: “The American border guards don’t like it when you have a dick drawn on your passport. And they don’t believe Rod Stewart did it either. We had to get new ones because we had problems getting visas.”

Danny: “Mine had some liquid coming back onto my own face. We tried to wipe them off, but it was in biro so was indented into the passport.”

Harry Judd: “We’ve got a better Rod story. We covered his [Faces] song ‘Stay with Me’ for Children in Need. He was meant to sing with us but probably decided on balance it would do nothing for his career and really help ours.”

Dougie: “We’re travelling in the bus afterwards to a sell-out show and Rod called Danny – not realising Danny had excitedly put him on loudspeaker.”

Harry: “And Rod said: ‘You sounded brilliant Danny! I don’t know why you didn’t sing the whole song on your own. You sounded much better than that other chap [Tom]! The other one’s not rock‘n’roll!”

Tom: “I was like: ‘Cheers Rod!’

Danny: (Cringing) “Arggghhh! it was so awkward!”

Tom: “It totally killed ‘the riding on a high to a sell-out show’ experience. All I could think about was my non-rock’n’roll voice for the rest of the night!”

Name all the songs you’ve appeared on with writing credits by Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus

Dougie: “‘Hate Your Guts’, ‘Sensitive Guy’, and ‘Growing Up’”


Dougie: “McBusted’s [the supergroup McFly formed with fellow pop-rockers Busted] ‘Hate Your Guts’ was written at his old house in Bath, and there were so many verses to ‘Sensitive Guy’ that didn’t make it.”

Tom: “Months after we’d written it, we’d receive emails with a new verse idea. It was like a new punchline to a joke.”

Dougie: “He still does that! Only two weeks ago, he sent me another one! ‘Growing Up’ [from McFly’s most recent 2020 album, ‘Young Dumb Thrills’] was our most recent collaboration.”

Harry: “Dougie’s BFF’s with him.”

Dougie: “I stayed at his house for a month in 2016. I remember getting him to name Blink songs and seeing if I knew how to play them. I didn’t know how to play the bassline to ‘Feeling This’, and he couldn’t remember either, so he dug out the hard drives for the untitled album…”

Harry: “While Dougie’s sat in the corner jacking off!”

Dougie: “Holy shit! He played me demos of ‘I Miss You’ and other songs, apologising: ‘Sorry if this is really boring’. I replied: ‘Are you fucking kidding? That album changed my life and you’re dissecting it in front of me!”

How old would the marine mentioned in your single ‘Obviously’ be now?

Tom: “Good question! So he’s 23 in the song, and it was released in 2004, so…”

Harry: “39 or 40?”

CORRECT. The lyrics are: “She’s got a boyfriend / He drives me round the bend / ‘Cause he’s 23 / He’s in the marines / He’d kill me.” Depending on his birthday, he’d be either 39 or 40.

Tom: “I’d been writing with [Busted member] James Bourne for Busted and then we started writing songs together that would become McFly. Alongside that, I’d met Danny and we’d started writing together. ‘Obviously’ was the first song that brought Danny and James together, which became the magic relationship for the first McFly album.”

Danny: “We used to write songs over MiniDiscs. Tom and James would post them to me in Bolton. With ‘Obviously’, I remember vividly it going (sings the opening of ‘Obviously’), ‘Recently I’ve been…’ and then all you hear is Tom’s mum bellowing, ‘TOM YOUR DINNER’S READY’. And him stopping and yelling back: ‘I’LL BE THERE IN A MINUTE!’”

Harry: “We need to change the lyric’s age to 40 next time we play live.”


The NME once printed a picture of you. What were the Spice Girls-style nicknames they labelled you with?

McFly all laugh raucously

Dougie: “Cunt, Wanker, Dickhead and Twat.”

CORRECT. Mea culpa! 

Dougie: “Who was who though!?”

Tom: “You can’t help but be affected by anything negative that’s written about you, even if you can shrug it off. Especially when you’re that young. We were 17 and craving credibility, and we were reading NME, so some of the criticism was pretty difficult.”

Harry: “We were more into Kerrang!, so fuck you guys! (Laughs) I remember Daniel Radcliffe slagged us off once in NME and our fans went in on him hard.”

Tom: “His mum contacted our management at the time asking us to lay off him (Laughs).”

What are the two B-sides of McFly’s 2005 single ‘I Wanna Hold You’?

Harry: “Is it ‘Get Over You’? ‘Easy Way Out’?

Tom: “God knows! ‘No Worries’?

Dougie: ‘Mr Brightside’?

CORRECT. It’s ‘Easy Way Out’ and a cover of The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’. Did Brandon Flowers ever give you any feedback?

Harry: “No news is good news! (Laughs) We did that quickly in an afternoon and the drumming on the original is so complex that I didn’t have time to learn it so I thought: ‘Fuck it! I’ll just do my own version. That’s too hard’. The melody’s wrong in some parts of it too.”

Any reactions to your covers from the original artists?

Tom: “After we covered Queen‘s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, Brian May and Roger Taylor sent us a bottle of champagne and asked us if we’d sing it on stage during the We Will Rock You musical on what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 60th birthday. During the soundtrack, we pushed Danny forward to ask us if he’d play with us during our Wembley show – and he did.”

Danny: “I’ll never forget his hair smelled incredible. It was that weird fruity Fructis smell.”

Dougie: “It smelled of fertility.”

What was the name of the Prime Minister electoral candidate you urged people to vote for in an episode of Doctor Who?

Tom: “Harold Saxon.”

CORRECT. Aka The Master.

Tom: “My son’s just got into Doctor Who and I can’t wait for him to get to the episode where we pop up. It’ll blow his mind. There’s lots of things like that which we didn’t know were going to continue to appear in our lives 20 years later, otherwise we’d have made ourselves look a bit better for them! Like they keep repeating the episode of Casualty we were in.”

What was the most memorable offer you turned down?

Harry: “We said no to Simon Cowell one too many times. He wanted to sign us, but we went with Island. Then he wanted us to duet with Same Difference on the 2007 X-Factor final, but he wanted us to mime our instruments, so we said no. And you don’t really turn Simon Cowell down. The next season of Britain’s Got Talent, a dance troupe performed to our version of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. And Simon retaliated by sniping: ‘I love the performance, hate that version of that song. Who even covered it? McSomeone? I don’t remember. They’re not relevant anymore.” I was like: ‘What?!’


Which 2004 single by boyband V do McFly appear on the B-side to?

Harry:You Stood Up’? ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears?’

CORRECT. Your duet ‘Chills In The Evening’ appears on the B-side to V’s single ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’.

Harry: “Danny originally met Tom when he auditioned for V, who were put together by Busted’s management, not realising that it was a boyband. He sang, then they asked him to do a dance routine and he was like: ‘Err…’. They said he could either join V and take a record deal or go and write with Tom with no record deal, and obviously he made the right choice.”

Tom: “’Chills In The Evening’ was the first song I ever wrote with James [Bourne], before we even wrote the Busted album [2003’s ‘A Present for Everyone’]. It didn’t fit anywhere so we recorded it with V. Us, Busted and V were like a little family at that time.”

Talking of boybands, you wrote a number of songs for One Direction. Any memorable Harry Styles moments?

Harry: “Me and Danny went for dinner with him once in LA and he’d hired a Ferrari. He was hammering it, looking at me going: ‘This is cool!’, as I’m screaming: ‘Watch where you’re going!’. All I could think was ‘Fucking hell! I’m going to die in a car crash with Harry Styles and nobody’s going to care!’ I’m going to be a sidenote in the news story: ‘Harry Styles with another less-famous, less-successful Harry. Who’s also in a band’.

Tom: “We were some of One Direction’s first-ever gig. One of the first times we realised that a younger generation liked our band was when we were in a TV studio canteen and Niall [Horan] pointed us and started singing ‘Obviously’.”

Dougie: “We didn’t know where to look!”


On Celebrity Juice, the audience members were once asked to rate McFly’s cock sizes from biggest to smallest. What order did they go for?

All laugh

Harry: “I can’t remember!”

Danny: “I know the order we corrected it to! Which was Harry, Tom, Dougie, and me.”

Harry: “Me and Tom were like: ‘Should we have a look to see whose is bigger?!’”

Danny: “I reckon the audience went for: Harry, Tom, me, then Dougie.”

WRONG. The audience ranked you: Dougie, Tom, Harry and Danny. (Although you were correct that you altered the order to Harry, Tom, Dougie and Danny)

Harry: “We’ve all got tiny cocks so it doesn’t matter!”

Which frontman once described McFly as “dippy” and “made out of Blue Peter’s sticky back plastic”?

All laugh

Dougie: “That’s amazing! If you’re going to slag us off, do it like that!”

Harry: I remember the lead singer of the Manic Street Preachers slagging us off. Was it him? Preston from The Ordinary Boys? The Libertines?”

WRONG. It was Sex Pistols’ John Lydon.

Harry: “We’ve been on Blue Peter and got the badges so he’s not far off!”

At the opposite end, you’ve written with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth, and Lewis Capaldi cited your 2007 single ‘The Heart Never Lies’ as one of his all-time favourite songs. Any famous McFly fans that have surprised you?

Harry: “All of those names! Back in the early days, McFly were the band indie artists loved to hate, but now we’re getting a lot more respect from current artists who grew up with our music.”

‘5 Colours in Her Hair’ placed second in the 2004 public-voted Record of the Year. Who beat you?

Tom: “Busted.”

CORRECT. For ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ – which Tom also co-wrote. Before McFly and reformed and returned with a new album ‘Young Dumb Thrills’ last year, you went into therapy as a band. What was the experience like? Anything like Metallica’s Some Kind Of Monster?

Dougie: “It was nowhere near the Metallica experience! We did one session as a band. Thankfully, therapy is slowly losing its stigma, and it’s a really good place to open up with a mediator and talk through things without it getting out of control and people walking off or fighting. We all wanted to be in this band, and love each other. We just needed a safe place to talk everything through.”

Harry: “We were patient and knew that we couldn’t do an album until all four of us were in the right headspace.”

Dougie: “Who thought 2020 would be the year for that?!”

The verdict: 8/10

Dougie: “Not a bad score! We’re off to change our Zoom names to Cunt, Wanker, Dickhead and Twat.”

McFly’s new single ‘You’re Not Special’ is out now. The album ‘Young Dumb Thrills’ is also available